The thirteenth anniversary of Egypt’s glorious 25 January Revolution passed quietly. The media did not commemorate it, and it was completely absent from the programme schedules. It is no longer called the January Revolution officially, but the “January events”, which are blamed on the deteriorating economic conditions in the country. The people did not dare to commemorate it, even though it occurred in an atmosphere similar to what we are witnessing now.
In fact, the situation is much worse now than it was in 2011, when the Egyptian people rose up in a revolution against the ruling regime and its corruption. Today, the Egyptians are suffering from the high cost of living and low wages amid a severe economic crisis, including the decline in the value of the Egyptian pound. It has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar. The unprecedented fall has resulted in food prices and energy products, such as gas and electricity, becoming too expensive for too many citizens. Poverty levels have increased to a record high, with the middle class now officially lower class, and the lower class… well, even lower.
Egypt is now living on loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and has other loans to repay that were spent on projects that have no economic benefit, such as the New Administrative Capital and the New Suez Canal and canal lining, on which billions were spent. Only after the money was spent did the minister of irrigation admit that it was a failed project. There was also Furniture City, the failure of which President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi admitted, along with other failed projects on which billions were wasted.
If we overlook the miserable economic situation and focus just on politics, we find it to be even worse. Political life in Egypt is almost non-existent. There are no opposition parties and no opposition newspapers. All have been silenced and there is no voice other than the voice of the dictator, his parties and his parliament, which was created by him. The regime controls all media outlets. All institutions are under his control, and the prisons are filled with tens of thousands of political opponents and activists.
The revolution took place on 25 January 2011 against injustice and corruption. Today, injustice and corruption have returned even stronger and uglier.
The revolution was a wonderful human endeavour in which members of society across the political spectrum and various intellectual and ideological groups joined together, casting their differences aside in favour of their affiliation with Egypt, which too priority over everything else. Their voices were united under the slogan “Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity”. These words shook the earth in Egypt, and their consequences extended to other Arab countries, including Libya, Syria and Yemen. This was no surprise, as we are one Arab nation; one people divided by our colonisers.
Thirteen years have passed since the Egyptian revolution, which dazzled the world with its civilised behaviour. It was a beautiful dream that became a reality. It overthrew a dictatorial president and a corrupt ruler, but did not overthrow the regime, and that was the big mistake. That was the door through which the regime loyalists returned by conspiring with the imperialist and regional powers, which feared that the revolutionary winds would depose them.I am referring, of course, to Saudi Arabia and the Zionist conspiracy state, the United Arab Emirates, the stronghold of the counter-revolutions from which all conspiracies against the Arab peoples and the Islamic nation as a whole are planned. These two countries in particular were able to turn the dream of the Egyptians into a nightmare, as they did with the other Arab revolutions — even if they took another form in Egypt — for fear that their people would be infected with democracy and the desire for change. Egypt is always in the vanguard, and the rest follow. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent to overthrow a president elected democratically in free elections that occurred for the first time, not only in the history of Egypt, but in the history of the entire Arab region. The whole world witnessed its integrity, after which the military coup was staged, which definitely got the green light from the US, that so-called champion of democracy.
The Egyptian revolution was not to the liking of the Zionist leaders, as they were like the Arab rulers. While they wanted the Zionist entity to be known as “the only democracy” in the region, they also feared the awakening of the Arab peoples and wanted to protect the Arab rulers who act as their agents in the region and the guardians of the usurper occupation entity.
We cannot exempt the elites from criticism, especially those who participated in the revolution and were its icons, but then conspired against it and joined hands with its enemies just because their political opponent was elected as president. They turned against the democracy that they were demanding and let the military ride in on their backs with their tanks on the evening of 30 June 2013, so that the coup could wear a civilian suit in front of the world.
The faultless January revolution cannot, in any way, be joined with the fall of 30 June, tainted with dollars and riyals, and soaked in the blood of innocents. It was the corrupt, opportunistic elites who were the reason for the setback of the revolution and the situation that we have reached now.
The 25 January Revolution was truly a revolution of the people who rose up against injustice and tyranny, and a gift from God Almighty. Unfortunately, we did not preserve it, safeguard it or care for it properly, and look where we are now. There was no consolation prize for the long-suffering people of Egypt.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.